NBA fans are constantly going at it and debating whether the good old days were better than modern basketball, and truth to be told, we don’t think there’s an actual correct answer for that premise.
Us, personally, love basketball and simply enjoy the beauty of the sport, as we’re privileged to watch this great sport evolve right before our eyes, so there’s no reason to think one era was better than the other.
Even so, it would be really fun to watch some of the older players in the league go at it against the younger players, so today, we’re going to talk about the game everybody wants to watch: old ballers vs young ballers.
Let’s see how would win if they play against each other today.
Team NBA Legends
Coach: Gregg Popovich
Point Guard: Tony Parker
There’s not much to say here that hasn’t been said before. With Tony Parker, you won’t have an athletic or impressive scorer, but you’ll get one of the smartest playmakers in the history of the game.
Parker has always had a thing for putting defenders on skates while using his brains to make the most of the matchups he gets. Also, he’s one of the clutchest players in the history of the Spurs.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
The Flash is a future Hall of Famer, one of the best two-way players ever, and the greatest player in the history of the Miami Heat, carrying them to 3 NBA Championships in a 16 season span.
Wade can be a lockdown defender even against bigger opposition, is an elite shot blocker and a dominant scorer who doesn’t need to be a good three point shooter to put up 25 points on any given night.
Small Forward: Vince Carter
Most young fans won’t remember how incredibly dominant Vince Carter was back in the day. His agility, hops, athleticism and a never-ending bag of tricks was just a treat for the eyes of everybody watching him.
Carter is almost unanimously the greatest dunker this game has ever seen and has just lacked a true support cast to help him win a Championship before retiring. Also, he’s one of the most durable athletes this game has seen.
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki completely changed the way the power forward position was played, as he completely redefined the concept of a “stretch big” with his top-tier shooting abilities, especially from three-point land.
The Great Teuton will always be remembered for his scoring ability, and even though he’s never been much of a shot blocker or a great defender, he’s always come huge during crunch time for the Mavericks.
Center: Pau Gasol
And Pau Gasol has to be their main guy down-low, a top-tier scorer and rebounder whose defense has been underrated at times, even though he was never your average heavy-footed big man.
Gasol is a vastly underrated player that was a major factor in both of the Championships he won at Los Angeles, is a mobile big man that could connect from beyond the arc or establish his presence down low.
Bench: Jamal Crawford, Kyle Korver, Zach Randolph, Joe Johnson, Udonis Haslem
This second unit features a lot of balance, with Jamal Crawford handling the ball handling duties. Also, there’s a lot of buckets coming your way with Joe Johnson as their main scorer off the bench.
Kyle Korver can really help spread the offense, while Zach Randolph and Udonis Haslem are a tough pair of big men to get past, so you know there’s not going to be easy boards or buckets with them on board.
Team Rising Stars
Coach: Brad Stevens
Point Guard: Trae Young
It’s still pretty early on his career, but Trae Young is proving his doubters wrong early with the performances he’s had for the Hawks, proving that he can be one of the league’s leader in dimes per game.
Also, even though his shooting hasn’t been as consistent as expected, he’s proven to be a guy that doesn’t need to rely on the three-point shot to do his damage, while not being that prone to turning the ball over as everybody expected.
Shooting Guard: Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic is the real deal. Yes, he’s a bit slow in defense and that’s not likely to change any time soon, but he can do so many things with the rock on his hands that he doesn’t look like an ordinary rookie.
Doncic can score off the dribble, create for others, spread the floor, score from all three levels and rebound. Moreover, he’s a vocal leader and loves getting everybody involved. He’ll be an All-Star in no time.
Small Forward: Kevin Knox
Kevin Knox hasn’t been as sharp as everybody expected early on, but he’s shown glimpses of greatness and the potential to become something of the likes of Paul George 2.0 given the chance to grow.
Knox has a lot of upside in the defensive end, is a natural scorer and a very physical player at his age, and even though he still needs to put up some work on his jump shot, he looks like a stud in the making.
Power Forward: Jaren Jackson Jr
Jaren Jackson Jr has been even more impressive than what we all expected out of him, showing his great range as a three-point shooter while already establishing himself as an elite shot-blocker.
Jackson is as good in the defensive end of the floor as he is on the offensive end, and if he keeps the pace, he’s got the potential to be something of the likes of the next Anthony Davis, or even better.
Center: Deandre Ayton
Deandre Ayton has been vastly exposed in the defensive end of the hardwood, but he definitely has made up for it in the offense. He’s an already polished and offensively elite big man, and will only get better with time.
Given Ayton’s physique, he was poised to dominate opposing big men, and he hasn’t skipped a beat since entering the league. Once he gets it going in defense and makes the most of his length and strength, he’s going to be a beast.
Bench: Markelle Fultz, Wendell Carter Jr, Marvin Bagley, Collin Sexton, Kevin Huerter
This bench isn’t as balanced as the one their rivals feature but is arguably more talented in the guards spots with Collin Sexton leading the way and Markelle Fultz working off-ball. Huerter, on the other hand, has shown a great scoring potential, but still needs more time to gain confidence as a three-point shooter.
When it comes to the frontcourt, the Youngs feature a deadly combo. On one side, we have Marvin Bagley, whose offensive upside makes him one of the most intriguing prospects in the league, while Wendell Carter Jr comes along as a dominant big man that can play below the rim or even hit from beyond the three-point land.
Experience aside, it looks like Team NBA Legends is more balanced, at least at first glance, featuring playmakers, shooters, athletic players and great defenders and rebounders as a well-round up squad.
On the other hand, Team Rising Stars features more talent and different makers that could really make their team gain momentum with a hot stretch of plays, especially when it comes to shooting.
Even so, lack of defense is going to be a major issue for Team Rising Stars, while Team NBA Legends is likely to slow down the pace and do most of their damage inside to take advantage of Ayton’s lack of defensive awareness.
Also, while Team Rising Stars features better shooters, they’re also way more streaky than Team NBA Legends’, so they have no clear upper hand over them. At the end of the matchup, we expect Team NBA Legends to take an easy 100-86 win, with Wade scoring 30 points to overcome Doncic’s 22-5-5.